Climate and Human Evolution Explore how environment change influenced evolution, and how dramatic climate instability over the past 6 million years may have shaped human adaptations. Climate Effects on Human Evolution The idea of variability selection, developed by Smithsonian researcher Dr. Rick Potts, seeks to explain how the dynamic surroundings of human ancestors shaped their ability – and ours – to adjust to a changing world. Survival of the Adaptable How did humans become so adaptable, capable of thriving across the globe? Chapter 3 of the book What Does It Mean To Be Human? explores the survival story of human origins. Human Evolution Timeline Interactive Explore the evidence for human evolution in this interactive timeline - climate change, species, and milestones in becoming human. Zoom in using the magnifier on the bottom for a closer look! This interactive is no longer in FLASH, it may take a moment to load.